Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When Parenting is Extra Hard

Being a parent is hard.

Whether you're a mom, dad, step-mom, step-dad, surrogate parent, grandparent, etc., it is hard. Rewarding and worth it, definitely! Hard, beyond comprehension.

It's true that you are never truly prepared for parenthood. You can have all kinds of great plans and goals, but they may all fly out the window in a moment. It could the moment you see that second pink line. It could be the moment your doctor and radiologist found something on your ultrasound. It could be the moment your baby is placed in your arms. It could be the moment you pediatrician gives you news/a diagnosis you never saw coming. Being a parent is like getting your heart ripped into shreds, then having it sew back together without any anesthesia. Your heart is whole, but it has scars and pain.

I'm not here to start any mommy wars or continue an argument. Instead, I'm going to give a perspective that recently came to my attention.

I am a people-person introvert. This means, I enjoy having relationships with other people. I love hanging out with friends, enjoying a meal in a noisy restaurant, being a tourist in a crowded city, and meeting new and interesting people. When I get to a point that I am physically and mentally exhausted, I need to be alone. Somewhere quiet, dark, and cool. Even if I want Phil with me, I like for him to be reading so I can put my hand on his arm. I need human connection, but I need calm.

If you don't know if you're an introvert or an extrovert, don't even bother with those online quizzes. Just ask yourself this: When I'm tired physically and mentally do I want to a) have my best friend have a drink with me as we watch my favorite movie, or b) go to my comfy bed with my favorite blanket, and just be still.
If you answered a, you are an extrovert. Your energy levels feed off of human interaction.
If you answered b, you are an introvert. Your energy levels feed off alone time.

I used to think I was a bad mother for not enjoying my children every second of every day. I mean, I wanted children so badly when I was told we'd have a very hard time even conceiving, let alone birthing. one child. Some women just love the noise, mess, and chaos that a child comes, or children come, with. I am now convinced that those women were not made to be mothers while I have to work at it. Nor do I longer believe that they are better mothers than I am. They are clearly extroverts. The noise, the connections, the interactions - that's what recharges an extrovert.

Mothering, (or parenting), as an introvert makes a hard job even harder. Whether you're a stay-at-home parent, or a working parent, if you're an introvert, it is harder. You love your child/children dearly. However, there are some days you just don't want to see another person. Those are the days that, even if your child is/children are behaving, you struggle to get to bedtime.

This does not make you a bad parent.

I will repeat this.

This does not make you a bad parent.

You need to figure out how to help yourself.
Do you need to journal? Write a blog? Do a video blog?
Do you need 10 minutes of complete peace and quiet once a day? Twice a day?
Do you need one night a month to do something alone? One night a week?

Whatever it is you need, tell your support system. If you don't have a support system, get one! Even if it is one other person, you need someone in your corner. Even if you're an extrovert, you need your tribe!!

Parenting is hard. Being responsible for another human life is a big job. Don't discount your struggles because you feel like you're the only one in your boat. I guarantee there's plenty of people in your boat. Just remember that it's a lifeboat, and you have help! You don't have to have postpartum depression or anxiety to need people. You don't have to be an incompetent parent to ask for help. We're all in this together.

I don't have all the answers, and I'm still figuring out what works for me to get my recharge time in. I cried the other day because I was so over other people, and the only time I'd get to myself that day was getting a lab test done!

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